Milltown lockdown ends without incident
At approximately 2:50 in the afternoon last Wednesday, Milltown Police Chief Ray Saylor was notified of a subject with suicidal tendencies who happened to be in close proximity to Milltown Elementary School.
‘I received two telephone calls, one from a local resident and one from a crisis intervention facility telling me that there was an individual who was contemplating suicide that was in the area of the elementary school,’ he said. ‘So, we went to the school, and there were several children outside on the playground, so we decided to go ahead and get the children back into the school and put them on lockdown ’til we could assess the situation.’
Two of the subject’s friends who had followed him into the wooded area across the street from the school off Speed Road provided information to Saylor that he was carrying a backpack and duffel bag.
‘We had no idea what it contained, so just as a precaution we went ahead and contacted other law enforcement agencies,’ Saylor said.
Those law enforcement agencies included the Indiana State Police, Crawford and Harrison County sheriff’s departments and another unit from Milltown.
‘Once those units arrived, we secured the perimeter of the school,’ Saylor said, as a precaution as the law enforcement agencies were treating this as more of a crisis intervention situation since the subject had not committed any crimes.
‘Since it was close to the end of the day, we had school buses coming in. We held those at the high school until we could get officers there,’ Saylor said. ‘Once that happened, we had officers at the rear and at the front of the school so that those children that were being picked up by their parents could safely leave. We also deferred the school buses down a secondary road just so that they wouldn’t be in the immediate area.’
Other than local law enforcement agencies, Saylor also had an Emergency Response Team on standby and brought in one of his department’s tracking dogs.
‘I put the ERT on standby because of the initial unknown reports of what he may have had in his duffel bag. There was an indication that he may do harm to himself and, so, we did that strictly as a precaution,’ he said. ‘It takes time to mobilize those resources … I’d rather put them on standby and not need them as to need them and then have this long duration of time.’
Saylor said officers remained at the school until all faculty had left for the day.
‘We had the Boys & Girls Club there in the afternoon and the next morning, so we had a couple officers stay there through the evening and additional patrols through the night and in again in the morning … just as a precaution,’ he said.
The situation was officially resolved at about 3:35 p.m. Wednesday with the subject not being located. However, Saylor said his police department is continuing to communicate with the subject’s family.
‘I’d say within 45 minutes it was resolved. … The main delay was the holding of the school buses and getting the resources there just to make sure everyone was safe,’ he said. ‘We have an idea of where he may be, but at this point we are not aggressively searching for him because he has not committed any crimes. We are trying to address the issue through family members and so forth so that we can offer and provide resources.’
While the situation could have been worse, Saylor was happy everyone handled their task smoothly, adding that it almost served as an extensive drill.
‘It went extremely well. The school worked very closely with us, the staff did a great job, but mostly the kids did the best job,’ he said. ‘They did exactly what they were supposed to do and, for them, I think, it was more of a drill of what they’ve been taught to do. So, no issues.’